Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What is the Pincher Creek Community Emergency Management Agency?

Chris Davis with Chief Dave Cox

The Pincher Creek Community Emergency Management Agency (PCCEMA) was created to represent and implement regional response planning if a large scale emergency occurs in the Pincher Creek area, including  the Town of Pincher Creek, the MD of Pincher Creek and the hamlets within it, and the Village of Cowley.  

The Province of Alberta requires every community to have a regional response plan to deal with large scale emergencies. In the early 2000s the communities of the Town of Pincher Creek and the Municipal District of pincher Creek #9 decided to use a regional approach to meet this requirement. With some growing pains, including a move away from the regional approach in the mid-2000s, in 2008 the regionalization was officially achieved with the adoption of relevant bylaws by the Town of Pincher Creek, the MD of Pincher Creek, and the Village of Cowley. 

PCCEMA is distinct from Pincher Creek Emergency Services, which is charged with responding to day-to-day emergencies and integrates with PCCEMA during large scale emergencies.

The current PCCEMA board includes Acting Director Of  Emergency Management Dave Cox, Administrator Diann Piwek, and members Jim Cisar, Brett Wuth, Jason Wagenaar, Bryan Sundberg, Janet Jones, Rick Bell, and Ralph Bourque.

In the event of a large scale emergency PCCEMA has members trained to take roles in the Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC), including a rotation of available ECC managers.

According to Alberta Municipal Affairs the ECC team's primary tasks include:
  • mobilization of the ECC team
  • providing emergency warnings and information to the public and media
  • managing the overall municipal response to the emergency or disaster
  • assessing the need for a State of Local Emergency and advising elected officials
  • planning for continued operations/services in unaffected areas of the municipality
  • confirming the incident commander(s)
  • tracking expenditures related to the event
  • establishing links with other operational sites such as schools, industry, utilities, reception centers and health centers
  • identifying issues (e.g. extraordinary expenditures)
  • ensuring recovery activities are undertaken
  • monitoring staff wellness
PCCEMA has a leadership role in the community in developing capacity for a coordinated response to large scale emergencies by:
  • maintaining an up-to-date Municipal Emergency Plan (MEP) and the plans it contains
  • coordinating Emergency Response Plans with and between organizations
  • training of response personnel
  • training of key personnel in other organizations
  • maintaining facilities in readiness to be set up in a response
  • maintaining equipment to be used in a response
A brief history:

Chief Cox explained how  the Emergency Advisory Committee, which guides PCCEMA,  has gone through several reorganizations and renamings over the years. "The current committee is the inheritor of the legacy of the previous committees."

"By 2006, when our records start, the committee was called the Joint Disaster Services Committee, consisting of representatives of the Md and the Town." The committee members were the same as those of the Emergency Services Committee, which was charged with overseeing the fire department and EMS. "In March of 2007 the committee was dissolved and became separately the MD Disaster Services Committee and the Town Disaster Services Committee."

"On March 15, 2008 the MD, Town, and Cowley joined to form a three-municipality Joint Emergency Management Committee." The name was a reflection of the change from the Disaster Services Act to the Emergency Management Act. In 2012 the committee was again renamed, this time as the Emergency Advisory Committee, to reflect updates to the Emergency Management Act.

Activation of the Municipal Emergency Plan:

The Joint Municipal Emergency Plan may be activated in part or in whole on a declaration of a State of Local Emergency by those authorized to do so in accordance with the Municipal Emergency Management By-Law, or on a declaration of a Provincial State of Emergency by the Lieutenant Governor in Council in accordance with Section 18 of the Alberta Emergency Management Act.

When no declared state of emergency exists the plan may be activated by:
  • Council, 
  • Mayor, Reeve, or Committee of Council,
  • the Director (subject to immediate report to a Member of Council and prompt ratification by Council)
Related links and sources:
Emergency Public Information line: 1-855-627-5365

May 4-10, 2014 is Alberta Emergency Preparedness Week. Pincher Creek Community Emergency Management Agency (PCCEMA) will be holding their annual event on Police Avenue next to the Provincial Building on Friday May 9 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

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